COVID-19 round-up for Monday, March 30 – Higgs warns penalties will be levied, Trudeau offers further information on wage subsidy

New Brunswick – “It’s disappointing at the very least,” said a visibly annoyed Blaine Higgs, premier of New Brunswick. “We will enforce it. I’m not aware of anyone that was handed fines this past weekend, but I assure you – if there’s lines of cars there (New River Beach) in coming days, there will be fines, there will be warnings, there will be tickets, there will be enforcement.”

Higgs firm statement was in response to a media question after today’s press briefing, when the number of vehicles seen parked at New River Beach this past weekend reportedly topped 100.

Higgs referred to the provincial mandates of not gathering in groups over five people, and the basic tenant of remaining at home as much as possible to slow the spead of COVID-19, which now has confirmed cases of community transmission in the province.

“Because we are not going to continue to let this pandemic spread throughout our province because some people refuse to take it seriously and are allowing others to be at risk because of it,” Higgs added.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer for the province, announced two new cases of COVID-19 provincially, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 68.

The new confirmed cases are:

  • an individual aged 30-40 in Zone 2 (Saint John region)
  • an individual aged 60-70 in Zone 3 (Fredericton region)

Due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19, public health is advising those who visited Shoppers Drug Mart at 175 Old Hampton Rd. in Quispamsis on the dates below that they were potentially exposed to COVID-19:

  • March 18 – 3:30 p.m. to midnight
  • March 19 – 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • March 26 – 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

In addition, individuals who visited Shoppers Drug Mart at 57 Lansdowne Ave. in Saint John on the date below were potentially exposed to COVID-19:

  • March 20 – 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Any individual who was in both or either store during those times should self-monitor and call 811 if they have any symptoms.

“Today, we have moved into a new phase of this outbreak, as our investigations have confirmed that there is community transmission of COVID-19 taking place in New Brunswick,” said Russell.

“It is more important than ever that every New Brunswicker do everything that they can to inhibit the spread of this disease.

“So each individual has to take responsibility for self-isolation when they are told to do so,” she added.

Higgs also reminded New Brunswickers today, March 31, was the first day residents who qualify can apply for the $900 New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit.

Applications may be completed online or by calling the Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582 (toll free) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

For detailed information on changes to testing protocols provincially, updated information on COVID-19, and self-assessment tool, amongst other details, go to www.gnb.ca/coronavirus

From Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced further details regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

Last week, changes were made to the original proposed subsidy of 10 per cent, increasing to 75 per cent. Today, Trudeau announced to qualify for the wage subsidy, businesses must show revenue has decreased by a minimum of 30 per cent because of COVID-19.

“If you work for a company that has been impacted by COVID-19, the government will cover up to 75 per cent of your salary on the first $58,700 that you earn,” said Trudeau.

The subsidy will also be backdated to March 15, 2020.

Trudeau also encouraged employers who can to continue to pay the remaining 25 per cent, so employees don’t lose income.

He also stated those who attempt to manipulate or defraud the system will face “serious consequences”. Trudeau also hopes this subsidy will allow employers to put employees back on the payroll.

He also mentioned the Canadian Armed Forces was ready to deploy wherever, whenever needed, whether it was to help deliver supplies to those in need or “fight forest fires”, he was clear the military is at the ready for whatever call might come from any province in need of it’s services.

In Canada today, at 11:15 EDT, there were 6320 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with almost 50 per cent being in Quebec, with 2840. Nova Scotia has 122, and PEI has 11.

For more information, go to Canada.ca

editor@stcroixcourier.ca